Halloween is nearly upon us, and that means children will soon be knocking on doors with the hope of getting a treat.
Unfortunately, this is also the time of year with the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities and child injuries, according to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis. More than 70% of those accidents occurred away from a crosswalk or intersection.
So, before your kids go trick-or-treating, parents should set ground rules to ensure Halloween is a fun, safe night.
First, let’s talk about costumes. When picking out your child’s costume, always look for the label “flame-resistant.” You’ll also want to pay attention to the fit, making sure it is the right size to avoid trips and falls.
Safe Kids Worldwide also offers these costume tips:
- Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
- Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
- Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
Parents should accompany trick-or-treaters who are 12 years old and under, Safe Kids advised. For those older children, going out on their own, plan and review a route acceptable to you and set a curfew when they must be back, according to the National Safety Council.
Safe Kids noted that adults accompanying younger children should ensure their charges follow these rules:
- Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Look left, right and left again when crossing – and keep looking as you cross.
- Put electronic devices down (that means you too, adult chaperone), keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
- Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
- Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
- Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
If you are not with any trick-or-treaters but on the road in a residential area, you should take extra precautions to avoid a tragedy. Safe Kids offered this advice:
- Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
- Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
- Get rid of any distractions – like your phone – in your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
- Turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
- Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30-9:30 p.m.; be especially alert for kids during those hours.
Tags: halloween safety